The Power of Unplugging

When I was growing up in Texas, we had what were called “blue laws” that forbid certain activities, like shopping, on Sundays.

As a kid, that meant spending Sundays with my family. We’d have a bar-b-q (Texas, remember?!) at our house or we’d go to my aunt’s house. I remember long days wandering around the neighborhood with my cousins and watching Donnie & Marie or Disney’s Sunday night movie.

That was a ritual that made up my childhood that I didn’t pass on to my son. The ritual of a slower Sunday so he could say, “On Sundays when I was a kid…” when he grows up.

Nowadays all of our days blend into one another, especially with such easy access to email. Do you check your work email on the weekends? I do.

Constant email and phone checking is obsessive. It’s been called an addiction. Every time you check your phone, you get a tiny hit of dopamine.

Years ago when Tim Ferris wrote “The 4 hour workweek” the one thing I recall from the book is not answering every email immediately. Unless its an emergency, try the 24 hour rule. People often find the answers they need without you, which makes them more independent and frees you up from your need to be always accessible.

Just yesterday I emailed my doctor and got her OOO response. I had to think of a way to get an answer without her, so I called Kaiser directly and got the information I needed from someone who was at work, not someone who had gone home for the day and was still answering my emails.

A good idea to try 
I read this article in the Harvard Business Review about the benefits of creating “Predictable time off” or PTO from your work. The article is a really interesting look at not only the mental benefits of building in breaks but also how once you have that space you can be more creative.

One slow day marks the week for us as different, one day when you can rest. In our 24/7 culture, this idea is looked down on, but science has shown that rest can make you much more productive. Some scientists have connected our loss of a day of rest to the increase in anxiety and depression.

Last year I was super burned out and my husband started a slow and steady campaign to get me to turn off after 5. It was a hard habit to break, the 24/7 work habit, but I found that I was much more likely to wake up refreshed and excited to start my day when I stopped working at 5.

For me the proof of my own experience was all I needed.

If you’re struggling to stay engaged at work or in your business, taking that kind of PTO may be what you need to kick start your energy again.

What do you do to rest and refresh? Have you thought about breaking your own 24/7 habit?

Warmly,
Melissa

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